Losing someone is something everyone goes at least once in their lifetime. Today I want to talk about how to deal with loss. I know I did this blog post, but it got destroyed along with my old blog. (I really should have saved my blog posts. Most of them were well written.)
What is grief?
Before we can talk about how to deal with loss, we must first define what grief is. The dictionary defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss (Dictionary.com). By the definition, grief is something we feel when we lose something or someone.
What can cause grief?
Grief can be caused by many things including divorce, the death of a loved one, losing a job, miscarriage, bankruptcy, retirement etc.
Myths about grief
Before I talk about how to deal with loss, let’s first bust some myths.
Myth: If you don’t cry then you are not grieving.
Truth: Grief is an individualized feeling while some might cry others might deal with it in another way. Crying doesn’t necessarily mean grief.
Myth: Grief should last [Insert a time frame here].
Truth: There is no time frame on how long a grief lasts. For some people, it might be a day or two and for others, it can be weeks or months.
Myth: Moving on means forgetting about the loss.
Truth: Moving on means accepting the loss.
Those are just some examples of myths that are out there. If you do a simple google search of grief myths, you will find a plethora of myths.
5 stages of grief
Grieving like I mentioned above is an individualized thing. The way people deal with loss completely differs from person to person.
Denial: “This isn’t happening.” “This can’t be happening”.
This is the first stage. This is the reaction people have when they hear about a loss or an illness. This a defense mechanism to protect them from the shock of reality.
Anger: “Why is this happening?”
As denial goes anger takes over. Reality hits us and the pain comes. People usually redirect the pain on to objects or other people. They might even start being angry at the person who is sick or dead. They might be mad at the person for causing them the pain then they might start to feel guilty for being mad at the deceased which in turn makes them madder.
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return, I will ____.”
A normal response when we feel hopeless. As kids, your parents might have given you a timeout or took your phone and the normal response would have been to plead. This is the same with grief. When we are feeling helpless and vulnerable we tend to plead and bargain.
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Extreme sadness from grief makes people depressed.
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
The final stage of grief is acceptance. This is the stage where you accept the loss. It doesn’t necessarily mean you forgot about the loss. It just means you come to accept it and not let it dictate your life.
During the grieving process, it’s good to talk to someone. Humans are social creatures. We long for companionship. Even if the other person might not be going through what you are going through, they can sympathize. It’s also very important to take care of your health and well-being. Sometimes we are so invested in our griefs, we forget about ourselves. If the grief becomes too much seek professional help. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of bravery. It takes a brave person to acknowledge their grief.
When dealing with loss:
- Acknowledge your pain: Like I said above, it’s hard to get help and talk to someone if you don’t acknowledge that you are hurt.
- Accept that grief can cause many different and unexpected emotions.
- Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you: Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone deals with pain differently. A paper cut is an simple example. Some people don’t even notice they had a paper cut while others will cry or scream over it. Everyone has a different pain tolerance and it’s also the same with grief. Some might cry and some might not. There is no one way to grief.
- Seek out face-to-face support from people: Talking with someone does really help. Like I stated before, humans are social creatures.
- Learn how taking care of yourself physically can support you emotionally.
- Understand the difference between grief and depression: Depression and grief are NOT the same.
I wrote this post last year as I went through some stuff. As I was searching around, I found different articles talking about grief and I decided to do my own just in cases someone might accidently land on my blog and might find this post helpful